Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fall Family Fun

Although fall in Texas can't even compare to fall in places like North Carolina, it is still a time of year where cooler days and chilly nights mean lots of fun outdoor activities.

On Sunday, our church, Firewheel Bible Fellowship, held their Fall Family Fun Festival. There were games for the kids, a mechanical bull, a tricycle parade, chili cook off and pie contest, hot dogs and hot chocolate and popcorn, and more. Aiden went straight for the football toss when we arrived--and then spent the entire evening hanging out there, tossing the football and watching the other kids try. He was actually pretty good--he could get one ball in that tiny hole almost every turn (a feat many adult men couldn't accomplish).

He ran into a friend from his Sunday school class, Tanner, at the festival and had a blast dancing around and acting silly with his buddy. We tried, to no avail, to get Aiden to give the other events a shot, but nothing could hold his interest like that football toss. At one point, he conceded to go through the inflatable obstacle course, but that proved to be quite an ordeal.

"I want to go in the bouncy fing!" he says. We walk over, get in line, and wait. Finally it is their turn, so Brad and Aiden remove their shoes and step into the obstacle course.

"NOOOO! I don't want to go! NOOO!" he screams in terror as soon as they get inside. Brad scoops him up and backs out the entrance. We stand outside of the obstacle course, asking Aiden what's wrong.

"I don't know HOW to go through that fing!" he wails. "I don't know how to climb over." (Talking about one of the obstacles.)

"That's OK. Here, we'll watch these kids go through, see what they do, and then we'll try." So we watch 4 or 5 kids that are Aiden's age or younger go through, and he decides he's ready to try again. We go back to the line. They wait for their turn. They remove their shoes, they step inside and come to the first obstacle.

"NOOOOOO! I don't want to go!" he screams yet again. Brad talks him through the first obstacle, then the second, but then Aiden begins protesting again, using his "bloody murder" scream. At this point, they are more than halfway through, so Brad just scoops Aiden up and pushes him through the rest of the course, but the whole way, Aiden screams as if he's being tortured, drawing the stares of pretty much everyone around. Finally they emerge on the other side, finishing by going down a big slide, and Aiden asks, smiling, "Can we go again?" [Pause 2 seconds]. Now he's frowning. "But don't want to go again, I don't like that fing." Jeez, kid, make up your mind!

After that, we gave up on trying to get him to do anything else, and spent the rest of the evening watching him happily toss the football and stuff his face with popcorn. Figured it was better to just let him have fun on his own terms.

Tonight, we enjoyed one of our favorite fall traditions as a family--dinner around the campfire. Brad dragged out the fire bowl and unleashed his inner caveman, starting up a blaze while I piled a tray full of hot dogs and s'mores fixins, made up a thermos of hot chocolate, and headed outside to enjoy the cool evening around the campfire. Aiden LOVES these evenings--we started this tradition in the fall after he was born, strapping him into his portable high chair at our patio table and feeding him tiny bits of roasted hot dog and graham crackers. That first year, he was mesmerized by the flickering fire, and every year since, he has enjoyed the tradition more and more. This year, he's graduated to roasting his own hot dog wiener and marshmallows, and was quite proud of his culinary talents. By evenings end, he was complaining of a belly ache from all of the marshmallows he had eaten, but he thoroughly enjoyed his "camping dinner" as he called it.

Male bonding around the fire.

S'mores with Mommy.

Sharing his s'mores with Freckles.

Roasting his own marshmallow.

What is it about men and fire??

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